New publication: Emergence of tick-borne diseases at northern latitudes in Europe: a comparative approach

By Atle Mysterud, Solveig Jore, Olav Østerås, and Hildegunn Viljugrein in Scientific Reports


The factors that drive the emergence of vector-borne diseases are difcult to identify due to the complexity of the pathogen-vector-host triad. We used a novel comparative approach to analyse four long-term datasets (1995–2015) on the incidence of tick-borne diseases in humans and livestock (Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis) over a geographic area that covered the whole of Norway. This approach allowed us to separate general (shared vector) and specifc (pathogen reservoir host) limiting factors of tick-borne diseases, as well as the role of exposure (shared and non-shared pathogens in diferent hosts). We found broadly similar patterns of emergence across the four tick-borne diseases. Following initial increases during the frst decade of the time series, the numbers of cases peaked at slightly diferent years and then stabilized or declined in the most recent years. Contrasting spatial patterns of disease incidence were consistent with exposure to ticks being an important factor infuencing disease incidence in livestock. Uncertainty regarding the reservoir host(s) of the pathogens causing anaplasmosis and babesiosis prevented a frm conclusion regarding the role of the reservoir host-pathogen distribution. Our study shows that the emergence of tick-borne diseases at northern latitudes is linked to the shared tick vector and that variation in host-pathogen distribution and exposure causes considerable variation in emergence.

Authors from CEES: Atle Mysterud, and Hildegunn Viljugrein. See the publication webpage for full author information.

Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 16316 (2017)
Published online: 24 November 2017
Publication webpage.

Published Nov. 27, 2017 1:35 PM - Last modified Nov. 27, 2017 1:35 PM